Steinstossen (translated to 'stone throwing' in English) is the Swiss variant of stone put, of throwing a heavy stone overhead for the longest distance. Practiced among the alpine population since prehistoric times, it is recorded to have taken place in Basel in the 13th century. During the 15th century, it is frequently recorded to have been practiced alongside the Schützenfeste of the Old Swiss Confederacy. It is also central to the Unspunnenfest, a festival inaugurated in 1805 in Interlaken near the old ruins of Unspunnen Castle in the Bernese Alps, and held once every twelve years.
One of the main highlights of the Unspunnenfest is the 'Unspunnen stone throw' where the contestants have to begin on a 6.1 metres (20 ft 0 in) runway, hurling the 83.5 kg (184 lb) stone into a 4-inch-deep (100 mm) sand pit. The unique stone is carved out from Aare granite of the Hasli valley.
The world record for the 'Unspunnen stone throw' is held by Swiss carpenter Markus Maire who threw the 83.5 kg (184 lb) stone 4.11 metres (13 ft 6 in) during 2004 'Eidgenössischen Schwing und Älplerfest' in Lucerne. He also threw the stone 3.89 metres (12 ft 9 in) during the 2006 Unspunnenfest held in Bernese Oberland resort of Interlaken for an Unspunnenfest record.
In 1860, Steinstossen was introduced as a track-and-field discipline in Germany, retaining the name in spite of the stone being replaced by a 15 kg (33 lb) block of iron.
Within the United States, the Ohio Swiss Festival in Sugarcreek has the distinction of the longest running competition, having run annually since 1956. Steinstossen at the Toledo German-American Festival began in 1989. The competition is scheduled for a two-hour period beginning at 3:00 pm on Saturday and Sunday at the annual German-American Festival.
Contestants in the Men's division of the Steinstossen hurl a stone weighing 61.25 kg (135 lb). They begin on a 6.1 metres (20 ft 0 in) runway, hurling the rock into a 4-inch-deep (100 mm) sand pit. The record holder of this event for 21 years was Jud Logan of North Canton, Ohio with a throw of 4.37 metres (14 ft 4 in) set at the Sugarcreek event. That record was broken by Beaux Lenarz in 2005 with a throw of 4.42 metres (14 ft 6 in). Kevin Marx of Toledo in 2009 had a throw of 4.66 metres (15 ft 3 in) at the German-American Festival - a different rock is used at this festival than is used at the Sugarcreek event so the two cannot be compared, even though both rocks weigh the same. In the 2023 Arnold Strongman Classic competition in Columbus - Ohio, the contestants had to throw an 84 kg (185 lb) replica of the Steinstossen. Poland's Mateusz Kieliszkowski threw the stone for 3.47 metres (11 ft 5 in) to win the event.
There is also a women's division of the Steinstossen, using a 34 kg (75 lb) stone. The women's record at the Sugarcreek festival is held by Roberta Collins of Sandusky with a throw of 3.87 metres (12 ft 8 in) while the record at the German-American Festival in 2007 is held by Becky Ball of Marblehead with a throw of 3.94 metres (12 ft 11 in). In the 2023 Arnold Strongwoman Classic competition, Victoria Long threw a 50 kg (110 lb) replica for 3.31 metres (10 ft 10 in) to win the event.
- ^ "The Blade | Toledo's breaking news, sports, and entertainment watchdog".
- ^ Franz Hess (20 September 2006). "Markus Maire war nicht zu schlagen". Env-afgn.ch. Retrieved 28 April 2023.
- ^ Markus Maire (3 September 2006). "Maire and Grab win glory at Unspunnen". Swissinfo.ch. Retrieved 28 April 2023.
- ^ John Wood (22 November 2017). "The Unspunnen Stone". Oldtimestrongman.com. Retrieved 28 April 2023.
- ^ "Steintossen at the Ohio Swiss Festival in Sugarcreek".
- ^ "2023 Arnold Strongman Classic". strongmanarchives.com. Retrieved 28 April 2023.
- ^ "2023 Arnold Strongwoman Classic". strongmanarchives.com. Retrieved 28 April 2023.
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